Bits: 15% off BA Manchester CityFlyer CE services, Amex Plat & Boingo wifi, Aeroflot moves Gatwick service

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News in brief:

15% off BA CityFlyer flights in Business from Manchester

Until 25th January, British Airways is offering 15% off all of its weekend BA CityFlyer services from Manchester in Club Europe.

You need to use code BAMAN15 on

There is a snag of course.  These flights are all 2 x 2 seating on Embraer 190 aircraft, so you don’t get an empty middle seat in Club Europe.  You do get a decent meal, lounge access and fast track.  The two services you may want to focus on are Malaga and Mykonos which are 160 tier points return and good if you are chasing status.

These are the services, which generally start in late May and run until either the end of September or end of October.

Manchester – Dublin

  • Outbound 09.55 – Sunday
  • Inbound 22.20 –  Friday

Manchester – Florence

  • Outbound 19.25 – 23.00 Saturday
  • Inbound 17.10 – 18.45 Saturday

Manchester – Alicante

  • Outbound 05.50 – 09.40 Saturday
  • Inbound 10.25 – 12.20 Saturday

Manchester – London City

  • Outbound 19.55 – 20.55 Sundays
  • Inbound 19.40 – 20.40 Thursday

Manchester – Ibiza 

  • Outbound 21.25 – 01.15 +1  Thursday
  • Outbound 20.25 – 00.15 +1  Friday
  • Outbound 19.30 – 23.20 Saturday
  • Outbound 12.50 – 16.40 Sunday
  • Outbound 14.45 – 18.35 Sunday
  • Inbound 01.55 – 03.40 Friday
  • Inbound 00.55 – 02.40 Saturday
  • Inbound 10.45 – 12.30 Saturday
  • Inbound 00.05 – 01.50 Sundays
  • Inbound 17.25 – 19.10 Sundays

Manchester – Malaga

  • Outbound 05.40 – 09.40 Friday
  • Outbound 06.00 – 10.00 Saturday
  • Inbound 10.20 – 12.30 Friday
  • Inbound 10.45 – 12.50 Saturday

Manchester – Mykonos 

  • Outbound 14.15 – 20.15  Saturday
  • Inbound 21.00 – 23.10  Saturday

Manchester – Palma 

  • Outbound 13.15 – 17.00 Friday
  • Outbound 05.55 – 09.40 Sunday
  • Inbound 17.55 – 19.40 Friday
  • Inbound 10.20 –  12.10 Sunday

Manchester – Nice

  • Outbound 13.15 – 16.35 Saturday
  • Inbound 17.20 – 18.45 Saturday

American Express Platinum and Boingo wi-fi

One of the least discussed benefits of the American Express Platinum card is Boingo wi-fi.  It gives you access to 1 million wi-fi hot spots globally.

My original article on Boingo from 2014 is here.

The problem with this benefit is that Amex continually publishes termination dates for the deal, but it keeps getting extended.  I actually thought it was finally dead until I saw it promoted again on the Platinum website last week.

It currently shows as ending on 31st August 2018.  I would take this with a pinch of salt, but at the very worst Amex Platinum cardholders can get themselves another seven months of worldwide roaming wi-fi.

You can register your Platinum card with Boingo at this website.

Aeroflot moves its Gatwick service to Heathrow

Russian airline Aeroflot is closing its London Gatwick service, launched in 2016.  From the start of the Summer timetable on 25th March, it will add a 5th daily Heathrow frequency instead, departing at 17.15 to Moscow Sheremetyevo.  It isn’t clear where Aeroflot obtained the Heathrow slots.

If you are heading to Moscow, note that Aeroflot often runs an Airbus A330 on its 13.30 departure from Heathrow.  This has angled lie-flat seating. British Airways often uses a long-haul plane on one daily departure although this tends to change on a regular basis – others tend to use the old ex-BMI A321 aircraft which do have lie-flat seats.

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  1. Was billed my first card fee for my gold reward amex last month but thinking of upgrading to platimum. Can anyone tell me if im charged the full £450 for the year or do they take into account ive paid £140 akready? Thanks

    • Hi Sue… they’ll issue a pro-rata refund of the £140 and then bill the full £450.

    • If spent 10 000 gbp in the first year its worth waiting for the 10 000 mr points bonus before upgrading to plat.

  2. Anyone know if Boingo can be used to access the London Underground WiFi?

  3. HI just registered myself for boingo. Can’t seem to do it for my supplementary holder. Any others with same problem and any workaround?

  4. LaserBeams says:

    OT – I have a 2-for-1 booked to and from Beijing but wanted to change the return to be from Shanghai to be able to spend a few days in each. Was told that this was not possible as the two cities are in different Avios zones despite only being 2 hours flying time apart. Is this correct or should I call back and speak to someone else?

    • I’ve done open jaw 241 from cities in different avios zones (BKK, KUL). It is possible. Do you have the additional avios needed for Shanghai (which is further away)?

    • That’s right – you can make changes to Avios bookings as long as the cities are within the same zone but not where your new city is in a different zone. Eg if you had booked LHR-JFK return you could change your return to IAD (DC) or Boston as they are the same zone (6 I think) but you couldn’t change it to come back from LAX as that is (say) zone 7.

      One option is to cancel and rebook but that is risky as the seats you have now won’t necessarily go back into reward inventory.

      Open jaws are completely possible for new bookings, I think the rule is the two cities need to be closer to each other than either is to London. You normally have to book them on the phone too as the website can’t handle this.

      • Correct: it is the change which is the problem rather than the open jaw.
        I tried to change flights from Vancouver BC to Seattle (just over 100 miles) but could not because they are in different zones.

        • Scallder says:

          Mark – Vancouver seems to have been moved as now the same price as Seattle and LAX

    • Steve-B says:

      If you want to change to different inbound/outbound zones on an existing booking you need to cancel and rebook the entire booking I believe, paying the £35 cancellation per ticket and the risk that the seats aren’t added to reward inventory. Definitely possible to book 241 open jaw across different zones though… I’ve booked to ORD and back from SEA in July.

      • Steve-B wins the prize for the correct answer!

        BA CS will warn you that when cancelling that the 241 voucher, avios, and reward seats may not become instantly available again, but the one time i had to do this it was all instant. I did this for a flight out to Tokyo, then back from KUL, on a 241.

      • LaserBeams says:

        Thanks all for your help on this … cancelling and rebooking looks like being the best bet (I can still see plenty of availability so this shouldn’t be a problem). If I cancel and rebook over the phone on the same call, will the 2-for-1 voucher get immediately refunded so I can use it again straight away?

        • they will warn otherwise, but the voucher should go straight back into your account.

        • Are you going to be ok visa wise before you make the change?

        • LaserBeams says:

          Thanks @Cate – I haven’t applied for the visa yet so want to sort out the destinations first and will then apply for the visa

  5. Boingo is a complete waste of time. The app constantly checks to see if you are within range of a hot-spot and even when you are it never, in my experience, successfully logged in. Worse, it takes credit for connecting your device to the mobile data network,which means it pops up all the time.

    A million dots of 50ft circles dotted across the globe is closer to useless than they would have you think. Especially when the successful connection rate is zero.

    Mobile data is a cheaper than chips these days. Just get a local Sim.

    Really really don’t waste your time.

    • YMMV – for me Boingo has been very useful especially in places with paid hotspots provided by the local telecoms companies- not everywhere is near a McDs or Starbucks (thank goodness!). I’m not saying it’s perfect but it’s a “freebie” I’ve made good use of from time to time and will be sad to lose.

    • I have to agree. Boing has been dire for me. I have had the app since 2014 and the number of successful logins could be counted on one hand.

      It was so bad that I too had assumed that Anex had ended it sometime ago. I have tried again in recent months with similar results.

    • Don’t understand. If mobile data is “cheaper than chips” then why does it matter if “it takes credit for connecting your device”?

      Just turn off your wifi and kill the app if you don’t want it to keep checking.

    • Stuart_F says:

      Dwadda is right in so far as the app is useless. Just manually enter your login details when you need to and it works fine.

    • Nick Burch says:

      Skip the app, and just log in manually. I find it comes in handy once or twice a month, even if only to avoid having to go through some stupid hotspots’ registration system!

    • AndyGWP says:

      Agree with those above – don’t use the app – just login when you need to 🙂 – pretty certain the BTOpenZone have a Boingo login option and i’ve never had an issue with it 🙂

    • the boingo app auto-login is very hit and miss, but that seems common with apps that try to support multiple WiFi providers

      I went into settings and switched off everything, since then no more alerts/pop-ups

      though I only run the app to check if there’s a hot spot I can use

  6. Chelseafi says:

    O/T sorry basic question hope to booked flights this week with my BA 241, am I correct in saying I’ll get 3 Avios for every £1 on my BAPP and only 1 every £ if I use my Gold Amex?

    • You’ll get 3 Avios on BA card, definitely. I think you get 2 MRs per pound spent on travel on the Gold and that should work for Can someone with recent experience validate this?

      • You get 2 on the Gold that is correct.

      • Sorry to hijack this, but I have a Walt Disney World package to pay for soon, booked directly via the Walt Disney Travel Company. Would this also qualify for 2 MR per £? Anyone have experience on this please?

        • You only get 2MR per £ on the Gold Amex when paying an airline.

        • I have been getting 2 mr points for hotel bookings so I would imagine that you would get 2mr points per £.

        • You get 3 MR per £1 when booking through Amex Travel (but be prepared for an argument with cruises (I got it in the end)).

  7. boingo Wifi is quite useful at the premier inn it gives you the premium tier and saves you a fiver a night

  8. OT – but AMEX Platinum related. does anyone know if you will get MR points for getting gold supplement card from Platinum? I’v already got 5000 MRs for first platinum supplement. Thanks

  9. I’ve seen various comments in the replies to Rob’s articles about bonus points for taking out supplementary cards. Does anyone know to which cards this relates (we have Plat, PRG, the Rewards Credit card, SPG, BA Blue in the family), how many supplementary cards per account would qualify and how many points you would get?

    • Currently if you have a Plat, you will get 18k point per referral regardless of what card is taken. I have had four referalls recently that have all secured me 18k each. These have been for 2x Gold, 1x SPG, 1x BA Blue.

    • HASSANJ says:

      I tried to get some bonus MRs last week for taking out a platinum supplementary card but the amex agent refused it. First time this has happened as usually they agree to the bonus.

      I miss the secure messaging system. Personally I think it was a lot better than the current chat facility they have.

  10. I found Boingo useful, I think it was at Dubai airport. Data roaming and WiFi would otherwise have cost ££.

  11. Paul Ashcroft says:

    On Boingo – I found that this service blocked every other WiFi service and I had to remove the app from my iPhone to regain control over my comms.

  12. Rob, I really hate to say this, but there’s poor research here again! It really doesn’t take much to check BA’s schedule…
    ALL BA flights to Moscow have long-haul-style seats and service. The first each day (BA233) is a widebody – either 777 or 789 depending on day – with the rest all flown with the mid-haul A321s with lie-flat CW seats and full IFE in economy.

    Incidentally, for anyone heading to Japan, 3/4 days a week the Aeroflot A330 service continues on to Tokyo with no change of aircraft.

    • Ah you see … I did have a look but saw them as A321 and didn’t know they were the ex-BMI planes.

      If you have been flying this route long enough you will know that it has gone through various phases, including being a 747 route at one point and having bog-standard short-haul aircraft during the low point of the economic crisis.

      • Since I started flying BA around 2007 this was originally a Club Europe route with the usual CE product. bmi decided to compete against them and offer their midhaul product which at the time was much more comfortable than Club Europe, but it wasn’t lie flat seating. Apparently Aeroflot also offered a better product than Club Europe on this route. As it was Club Europe it was 80 TP.

        So BA decided to change it to longhaul. Started with 747, but since it was reclassified as longhaul it has never gone back. There’s been times when aircraft have been substituted for shorthaul 321 or 767 but officially the product was ‘Club World’ with 140 TP. Some other routes such as TLV have also suffered with shorthaul aircraft substitutions at times but they’ve never officially been recategorised shorthaul.

  13. OT – I recently spent 3 nights in Germany (Hilton Dresden, then independent hotel in Saxon Switzerland NP booked through, then back to the Hilton in Dresden). It occurred to me that I often do this (fly into city, stay a night in a big chain hotel, head out of the city to go enjoy Mother Nature in all her glory and hug some trees, then return to the chain hotel to clock up another stay before flying home) a strategy I frequently use to hit bonus promotions that often reward single night stays over multiple night stays.

    This works for me because I don’t ever stay in hotels for work, so I would struggle to achieve bonuses like Accelerate and the current Hilton promotion otherwise, I love hiking and the great outdoors (and would always choose a NP as an end destination above a city break), and my boyfriend would NEVER agree to the inconvenience of hotel hopping around within a city purely in order to satisfy hotel promotional targets, but will happily do it if it means the convenience of being able to relax in a hotel quickly after a flight, then completing the journey to our chosen spectacularly beautiful destination the next day.

    Is this something that other people do at all? Is it worth sharing recommendations of chain hotels that exist close to stunning landscapes? I’m always looking for new options!

    • Pangolin says:

      I have a similar approach – although I don’t necessarily always head out to a national park I do like to get out of big cities for a wander and I focus more on earning status through stays than nights. I have to be cost effective as I’m a freelancer.

      This year I aim to maintain SPG Plat with 25 stays and I find that’s doable as I also like to take weekend breaks. I also do longer stays when I have a proper holiday but I prefer to use points for these or 5th night free, etc., to limit the cash spend.

      Next year the SPG program will merge with Marriott Rewards and it looks like there’ll be no way of maintaining Plat status – it will probably be at least 50 nights and more likely 75 as that’s what you need in MR currently. Those numbers are never going to be practical for me.

      It’s much easier to find chain hotels in/near NPs in the US than it is in Europe:

      • Agreed, although if you’re willing to settle for somewhere that’s stunning (but not a NP), it gets easier.

        Recommendations for easy trips within Europe:

        Dresden for Saxon Switzerland NP (Google Bastei bridge for an idea of how stunning it is!)
        Milan Malpensa (stay at an airport hotel) for Lake Maggiore (or really any of the Italian lakes if you drive)
        Geneva for Lake Geneva, hiking around Mont-Blanc (or up it if you’re hardcore) – an alternative and cheaper base is the Hilton at Evian, which has a fab Spa and a nice Exec lounge
        Grenoble – the Novotel Grenoble Nord Voreppe is less than 2km from a train station, and is in a valley between 2 Parc Naturel’s
        Antalya (well – part of Turkey’s in Europe…) – there are 2 IHG hotels there, and the coastline West of the city is stunning, as well as there being a ton of hikes in the mountains nearby, including to the ruins of Termessos
        Bordeaux – do a few boozy hikes between stays at the Intercontinental
        Costa Smerelda in Sardinia – there’s a Sofitel and various SPG hotels, then make your way to Cala Gonone and then do hikes along the Golfo of Orosei
        Madrid – many hotels to choose from, then head into the Picos de Europa for some lovely hiking and kayaking opportunities
        Dubrovnik – stay at the Hilton and use it as a base for a bit of island hopping, plus you can hike up Mount Srd from the city
        Madeira – there’s a Melia there, and 2500km of levada to hike…

        Please reply with your own recommendations!

    • RussellH says:

      Having sold both walking and cycling trips to Saxon Switzerland in my past life (IIRC it was the second area in the east that I offered starting in the mid 1990s,with the Harz being the first) I am curious to know where you stayed. For anyone who does not know the area it is stunning. Public transport from Dresden ios excellent – if you avoid the Inter City services to Prague and beyond (every other hour) you can use a day rover on the local trains, Dresden trams and buses, other buses and some of the ferries across the Elbe. Dĕčin, just across the border in the Czech Republic, is very doable as a day trip from Desden, or anywhere else in the Elbe Valley. There is a great walk from south of Bad Schandau to a fabulous rock arch, the Pravčicka Brána, too – used to be a popular day out from Dresden before 1914.

      Other destinations that I used to sell:

      Munich -> Garmisch and Füssen, as well as the pre-Alpine Lakes.

      Cologne or Frankfurt -> the middle Rhine Gorge – walking routes such as the Rhine Castles Way and the Rheinsteig

      Strasbourg -> Vosges. You can combine wine and hillwalking.

      Cologne (again) -> Eifel

      Hannover -> Harz

      Bruxelles or Luxembourg -> Ardennes – some fabulous food as well as great walking.

      Basel -> southern Black Forest or the Vosges (again).

      And, although I did not sell Switzerland, Zürich for loads of alpine places to the south.

      I could go on…

      • Please do…

        Some brilliant ideas there – thanks Russell!

        • RussellH says:

          OK – since you ask!!
          A bit further away from Dresden is Oberlausitz (Upper Lusatia), which fits in the corner where Germany, Poland and Czech Republic meet.

          North east from Munich (you can get a bus from the airport to Freising and then a train through) is Passau. From there walk high above the Danube Valley along the Donausteig (I sold this as the Danube Heights) to Linz (I do not know if Ryanair still serve the airport there) which has / had a Courtyard/Marriott and frequent fast trains to Vienna.

          Between Stuttgart and Zürich is the Schwäbische Alb (spelled with a b); fantastic limestone country with some great castles and distinctive food, which I like, though may not be to everyone’s taste. Home to the largest regional walking club in Germany.

          North of Stuttgart you can follow the Neckarsteig (Neckar Heights) to Heidelberg – arguably better countryside than the Rhine, and almost certainly even more castles.

          I am still learning about Italy, but since Verona is a popular start for skiers, it should be as good for walking in the Dolomites. And a friend spent a week walking to the north of Turin last year.

  14. OT does anyone pay Thames Water via a Paypoint?
    I am currently paying via DD but pondering whether to go Paypoint. Is it possible to pay a few months in advance? I don’t fancy going to the Co-op to pay £30 a month but say £90 a quarter would be worth the hassle.

    • I do. They give you a paypoint card and you can top it up whatever amount you like.

    • I do. I pay six months and then six months

    • Great thanks will do that.

      • I sometimes also pay it all when needing to hit a sign up bonus given any TVM rate I applied to future cash flows would be v low. Also possibility to overpay a bit and get cash refunded but TW have a proper refunds review control in place unlike some co’s I know…

  15. Just tried to book MAN-LCY one way, and receive two errors that:
    BAMAN15 may not be used when flying to this arrival point
    BAMAN15 may not be applied to journeys containing this number of flights

    A return removes the error for number of flights.
    Seems that the offer is return only, with LCY excluded.

  16. Graham Walsh says:

    I’ve found he WiFi very useful at various airports where they charge or means I can get premium access and carry on with working doing video calls.

  17. It’s a shame there isn’t any back to back chances from MAN with the code! Would be a decent day out otherwise.

  18. Been out of touch during the week but are we still expecting some news from Amex?

  19. OT, how long has the £200 amex travel credit been taking to post to account? Its been 7 days here and no credit as yet, need to cancel my platinum before Tues!

  20. Sorry this has probably been covered before but can you tell me if Platinum amex holders can refer themselves for BAPP card and pocket 18k membership reward referral bonus? I know it says ‘ refer friends and family’. Thanks!

    • Andrew M says:

      Put it this way. It doesn’t hurt to try – I have given it a go, and I have no regrets over the outcome!

      • I think there is enough to fill an article here.

        Everything has changed so much, I have no idea which card I should use to refer to which card. For example it sounds like if you have a free blue BA card and a platinum charge card and you are referring someone for the BAPP card, you should use the platinum charge card. I bet many people would use the BA card instead.

        Anyway – just an idea.

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